By Joan Marlow —
My new thought is: Pandemic = Transition. I don’t know about you, but most everything in my life is different than what it was back in February!! Do you remember February????!!! Our ‘new norm’ is all about being fluid and adaptable to change; and simply accepting this as a truth in my life and the lives of everyone else on the planet.
As we enter Summer 2020, it might not be what we were expecting nor what we’ve ever experienced before. Vacation plans away from your home might need to be shelved til 2021. You and your family might be finding and using creativity you never knew existed; that’s a good thing. As you look to the coming school year, that too, is surely going to be very different. Yes, the need to ‘go with the flow’ is what’s needed, like it or not. Fighting it is futile and you’ll only hurt yourself emotionally. The skill required to support you in this effort is ‘Resilience.’
Resilience is our ability (as humans) to adapt and bounce back when things don’t go as planned. Resilience is a skill that is built over time.
You’ve probably faced other hurdles in life, which at the time felt insurmountable, but you’re still here! Somewhere you found the strength, acceptance of ‘what is’ and found a way to move on from that learning experience. That’s Resilience!!
To continue to build Resilience, here’s an 8-minute Mindfulness practice. Research suggests Mindfulness practices help to build resilience, improve problem solving, social and emotional skills to help us to ‘bounce back’ more effectively from the bumps in the road that life presents us. This 8-minute Mindfulness practice will help calm your mind, reduce anxiety and support your being able to figure out your next steps.
The practice asks you to ‘count breaths.’ ‘Breath-counting’ helps to build awareness and is a foundational mindfulness practice. Research shares that ‘breath-counting’ can decrease mind wandering and negative thought loops, improve mood and reduce anxiety. You can do this sitting, standing or lying down.
I recommend listening to the audio version. However, you can simply read the text below. If that’s your choice, ready through the entire script first to familiarize yourself with the practice, then do the practice, referring back to the text as needed and pausing briefly after each practice. Choose a position where you can be comfortable and alert. Enjoy!!
1) Lie down and let your body rest. Notice whatever you’re thinking right now, however you feel right now.
2) When you’re ready, take three deep breaths while paying attention to the rising and falling of your belly. We’re not trying to do anything special except just notice the sensation — what it feels like.
3) Place your hand on your belly. As best as you’re able, pay attention to the rocking of your hand with each breath.
4) Recognize that your mind will go off somewhere else, over and over again, or you might feel restless — all of that’s normal, all of that’s totally fine. Each time you notice your attention is gone somewhere else, come back again to your hand rising and falling on your belly.
5) If you’d like, count your breaths, sticking to small groups. Perhaps you could count up to five and then start again at one.
6) Each time you lose track, simply start over. Note any tendency to get frustrated — there’s no need to, the distractions will happen. Breathe in, one, breathe out, one, breathe in, two, breathe out, two, continuing at your own pace… and coming back again to breathing in and breathing out.
7) Wherever your mind’s gone, allow those thoughts to be for just now. Allow them to show up and then continue on. Thoughts are normal. Everyone has thoughts continually throughout the day, throughout this type of practice.
8) Come back gently, and over and over again to the feeling of breathing, right now. Allow thoughts and feelings to show up because they will and then each time come back again.
9) Breathe in, one, breathe out, one, breathe in, two, breathe out, two, and then again coming back to the next breath — not trying to fix anything or change anything at that moment, or at this next moment.
10) At some other time during the day, there might be something to act on, but right now, simply lie here, guiding your attention to the rocking of your hand, to the sensation of breathing.
11) And when you’re ready, if you’d like, opening your eyes, or continuing to lie still.
What did you experience? Calm, peace, clarity, a sense of inner strength that can support you as you face all of life’s bumps in the road?
Adapted from ‘A Mindful Breath-Counting Practice for Teens and Tweens, Mindful, September 2018
Joan is a ‘life-long learner and a forever teacher.’ Starting her career as a high school teacher, she continued to learn and grow in corporate America as a corporate trainer, mentor and manager. She’s living her passion in her current role as a life & wellness coach, educator and alternative health practitioner in her business, Peaceful Easy Healing. Its tagline is: ‘Supporting Your Health and Well-being from Awareness to Action.’ Everything starts with Awareness. Joan’s focus is to share Awareness and offer practical tips, tools and techniques to reduce stress and live a balanced life; your role is to ‘choose’ to take action to support creating your best life.